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RATINGS: 1972   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons appears born anew.

Editor’s Note: due to the significant similarity in style and strength from year to year (despite potential differences in the exact spice blend), this beer is no longer separated by vintage.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rune (9661) - Tromsø, NORWAY - DEC 20, 2006
355ml bottle, vintage 2005, bought at Ølbutikken in Copenhagen a year ago. I suppose one year aging in the cellar has enhanced the flavour. Pours a yellow-brownish head over a deep, rusty brown body. The smell is rather weak but dark fruit offset by vanilla can be detected. Rich and complex taste of aniseed, dark malty sweetness, black coffee and spicies (a pepper note). The beer finishes off with crisply bitterness. Medium palate (20.12.2006).

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
pivnizub (9521) - Bochum, Porúří, GERMANY - MAY 6, 2009
Bottle (vintage 2007): Deep ruby amber coloured, a bit hazy, small off-white foamy layer; christmas spices, coriander toasted malt and dried fruits in the nose; moderate to solid - relatively dry - bitter-sweet flavour, medium bodied; dry bitter finish, rounded by some toasted malt and spices. Pleasant, well rounded stuff.............

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
shrubber85 (9455) - Greenville, Indiana, USA - DEC 29, 2014
Bottle. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel malt aroma. Brown with small head. Sweet nutmeg, cinnamon, and creamy caramel malt flavor. Very pleasant.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
GT2 (9412) - Oceanside, California, USA - DEC 5, 2009
12oz. Pours a cloudy deep red with a one finger dark tan head that has little retention and lacing. Aroma is spice, toffee, apple cider, nutmeg, cinnamon. Taste is spicy, watery, spruce, huge medicinal feel. Lots of cough syrup, Sudafed, Nyquil. Pretty light bodied but syrupy mouthfeel. Sort of gross. I’m surprised that a brewery with as much to live up to as Anchor would actually produce something this bad every year.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
DSG (9318) - Tel Aviv, - JUN 9, 2012
UPDATED: APR 23, 2013 Re-rate 4/13: Bottle sample at a tasting Beer Market Jaffa. Thanks Tom. 2012 bottle. Winter spices and some licorice. Sweet and malty. 5/3/5/3/10=2.6

Bottle sample at beerandbeyond farewell tasting at Dagan’s place. Thanks beerandbeyond. 2011 bottle. Brown-colored. Aroma of malt and lots of winter spices. Sweetish malty flavor with spices, a bit of molasses and a dry finish. Medium-bodied. 4/3/4/3/8=2.2

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
gnoff (9191) - Mölndal, SWEDEN - NOV 6, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 2, 2014 First rating
Initial Rating Date: 11/6/2006
330 ml bottle at Haket, Göteborg.
2006 Christmas ale.
Ruby red color, tan head. Spicy clove scent. Taste is clove and lots of spicy malts. Low bitterness.

Second rating
UPDATED 11/19/2006
Vinous a bit minty, strong sugary smell. Deep ruby red color, tan head. A bit fruity taste, thin and boring, vinous. No bitterness. Just plain too boring.

On tap as part of a flight at Brewer’s Tasting Room, St. Pete, FL, on January 22, 2014.
Clear very dark red color, light brown head. Sweet, spicy taste. Tart, dry aftertaste. Thin mouthfeel, low bitterness. Sweet scent, a bit spicy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
rosenbergh (9159) - Tampere, FINLAND - NOV 26, 2010
355 ml bottle. 2010. Finland.
Dark reddish brown colour with small creamy tan head. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, toffee and hops in quite tempting aroma. Flavour is a dab more harsh with darkish hops, roasted malt, chocolate, spices and coffee. Rather wintery.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
leaparsons (9109) - Leicester, Leicestershire, ENGLAND - OCT 29, 2006
Bottle. Swan and Rushes, Leicester. Black with a small beige head. Aromas are herbal and spicy with root vegetables and liquorice. Some dark chocolate bitterness. Flavours are herbal, medicinal and berruy fruit with bitter dark chocolate and spices. Earthy and smoky with a long aftertaste. I could still taste this on the palate after a half hour walk home. Very good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
DrSilverworm (9100) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 27, 2011
2010 version. Smells great, definitely a pine smell in it that’s appropriate for the season, maybe even some roasted nut smells. Appears to be a very dark brown color when poured, but when shining a light through the glass the beautiful red color becomes very apparent. Stickier texture than I prefer, lively carbonation though. Sort of an odd vegetable-ish after taste, but it’s certainly interesting and not too strong.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jercraigs (9046) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 31, 2005
UPDATED: AUG 4, 2015 2008-12-06. Dark brown body with a modest khaki head. (3+) Sweet malt aroma, spice is well rounded, nutmeg? (7+) Sweetish flavour has a malty base, nutmeg, spice. (7+) Average plus palate. (3+) Pretty much how I remembered it from previous years! 7+/3+/7+/3+/15-16 = 3.5 2008 Vintage. On tap at Coles, Buffalo

2006 Vintage. Bottle at Volo. Very dark brown-black body with a smallish creamy tan head (3+). Spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon) and sweet malt in the aroma. Flavour is similar to aroma, with the addition of ovaltine/cocoa notes. Nutmeg, very light anise, sweet malt middle. Average palate. Pleasant, but as always with this one I find it hard to wrap my palate around the melange of spice flavours. 7/3+/3/7/14 - 3.4

2005 Vintage. December 2005. Draft @ Coles in Buffalo. Black body with small creamy tan head. (3+) Sweet malt with abundant but mild spice notes in the aroma. Flavour has lots of nutmeg and something I called anise that may or may not be. Mild nutty notes at some points. Plenty of malt throughout. I enjoyed this a bit more than previous years, but there is still something unharmonious about the whole package that detracts from it for my tastes. 6/4/6/3/14 - 3.3

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